Stateside Scorpions narrowly avoided an upset in a tight tussle against the Trades on Tuesday night as they scraped home in a one-point victory. The Scorpions were coming off the bye and hoping to join the Olympians on eight points. They would have fancied their chances against a Trades side they trounced by more than 50 points in their last meeting. But there was to be no blowout this time as both teams played strong defence in the opening half to dampen scoring opportunities. The Scorpions still had that touch of class to keep them in front mainly thanks to Abbie McDonald, who racked up 12 points in the opening half and formed a linchpin for Scorpion drives. Trades kept themselves in front in a contrasting style, relying on Mikala Van Nitfrik who had three three-pointers on her way to nine points as they trailed 22-26 at the half. The second half started with the teams trading baskets but for nearly 10 minutes the Scorpions’ structure collapsed as Trades found themselves with a 10-point buffer. Offensively they were not in sync, with passes being left for no one on more than one occasion, while the defence was almost non-existent as Trades continued to shoot well from the field. They were also loose with the ball, offering far too much opportunity for Trades’ steals which they were more than happy to oblige. It looked as if the Trades were heading towards a win with five minutes to go but Stateside finally began to play defence again. Suddenly the Trades did not have the room to shoot and Charlotte Kennedy, who was not at her best, was still helping Scorpions close the gap. After trailing for most of the second quarter they hit the lead by one point with two minutes to go before Van Nitfrik bricked both her free throws with 30 seconds left on the clock. It enabled Stateside to scrub as much time as possible to the point they actually didn’t get a shot off before the clock expired, giving Trades four seconds to try pull off a miracle. But it wasn’t enough as Daisy Whitehurst’s half-court lob fell well short of the target as the Scorpions saved their blushes with a dominant last five minutes. Kennedy finished on 13 points, with her nine in the second half the most of anyone on court, while Van Nitfrik led all scorers with 16, including five three-pointers. Jessica Giudice-Nairn finished with 11 points. Coach Amy Williamson was pleased with the win but lamented their loss of focus that saw them nearly give it away. “That defence at the end is what we have to play all game,” she said in a post-match address. “We need to find something we can maintain our focus on and be ready to take on the game when challenges come.” In the early game, Pumas comfortably accounted for the Warriors to leapfrog Trades into third place. The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes, with both sides guilty of multiple turnovers before they could get their offensive structures in place. But Pumas soon found their footing and locked the Warriors out from the rim while they began to find their range from the field, sinking five three-pointers in the first half compared to the Warriors’ zero. They took a 39-30 halftime lead, with Millie Gerreyn leading the way with 13 points while Belle Fisher also had 13 for Chapman Valley. However, Fisher didn’t come on until four minutes in the second half with the gap out to 14 points as Pumas continued to edge away from the Warriors and to record a 72-50 victory. Gerreyn finished with 17 points, well supported by Mikenna Schultz with 14 points and Holly Davey and Damiris Simpson both with 10. Fisher was the standout for Chapman Valley with a game-high 19 points, with next best being Natalie Caruana’s seven. It leaves the Warriors without a win from their five games so far.